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General tips for JLPT

The Japanese Language Proficiency Test requires you to be familiar with a lot of vocabulary and grammatical patterns that you never hear in everyday conversation and almost everyone who takes it expresses frustration about how many useless things they had to learn in order to pass it.
The listening section is full of trick questions and the test often includes somewhat archaic Japanese. If you have not taken practice tests and prepared specifically for the sorts of questions asked on this test, you are almost guaranteed to be in for a shock, no matter how good your Japanese is.
Most people did not grow up in a country that uses Kanji will have to go to a full-time Japanese school or practice using Japanese language software in order to pass the JLPT. Learning Japanese is not like learning French. Learning to read is difficult that it is not something that most people can do in their spare time. I started from a low-intermediate level and had to study reading and grammar for 7 months before I could pass the Level 2.
The JLPT gets more difficult every year. A lot of people say that the present level 2 is as difficult as the level 1 was when the test started. Just because you can pass last year's practice test is not a guarantee that you will be able to pass this year's test. The good news is that question formats do not usually change from year to year so you can improve your score a lot by taking practice tests.
Take a practice test before you start studying. You can buy a copy of previous test from most large Japanese bookshops. Find out what your weak-points are and work on improving them.


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